The Board of Directors at Valley United Way is very pleased to announce the first grants under the new Special Issues Grant Program. Earlier this year, the Board identified early childhood education as an especially important issue in the Valley and set aside $25,000 for programs designed to have an impact on the issue. Requests from several Valley groups were received, and after a thorough review by the Allocations Committee the Board has made three grants.
TEAM, Inc. has been awarded a $16,000 grant to implement the research-based "Tools of the Mind" curriculum and instructional approach within its Early Childhood Programs. The "Tools of the Mind" approach is renowned for its successful preschool age outcomes around self regulation, social-emotional development, language, literacy and mathematical thinking. In addition to providing training for the teachers in the program, the program will provide for parent orientation to support implementation of the program within the home as well as at the preschool center. TEAM will be partnering with Eastern Connecticut State College to implement the program.
The Valley's Early Childhood Task Force will be receiving a grant of $8,000 to train day care providers on the use of the Ages & Stages program. The ASQ's are developmental screenings designed to be given to children from 2 months of age through 60 months. They track children in the development areas of communication, gross motor, fine motor and personal/social skills. Not only will the care providers be trained in the use of the tool, but parents will also be given the information they need to participate in the program at home.
The Shelton School Readiness Council will be receiving a grant of $1,000 for the Read & Grow: 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten Program. The program is a multi-year, pre-literacy effort aimed at encouraging families to read at least 1,000 books to their pre-schoolers. The national model encourages parents to read one book a night over three years at bedtime to their children. The project is designed to help kids enter school ready to learn, expose them to a wide variety of books and instill a lifelong love of reading. The program also promotes the use of the library and the extensive collection of materials available to parents.
Jack Walsh, President and C.O.O. at Valley United Way, said that the Valley has become a model for cooperative efforts in the area of early childhood education. He said, "All three of these groups have been working together for years now to ensure that all children in the Valley are prepared to succeed in school by the time they reach kindergarten. The lessons learned through these three grant programs will be shared across the entire Valley and provide benefits in the way of student achievement for years to come."
Posted on November 6, 2013